Work in Progress: Madeleine, Teddy Bear Number 1

First draft pattern for teddy bear number 1, aka Madeleine

This is my first WIP (Work in Progress) Wednesday post, starting the tradition of sharing whatever is currently on my knitting needles, sewing machine or, in this case, drawing board.

After much time spent staring at teddy bear patterns, measuring teddy bear patterns and calculating upwards of 40 ratios between various teddy bear measurements (ratio of leg length to body height, for example), I bit the bullet yesterday and made a first draft pattern for teddy bear number 1. Since she is destined to be one of my models for the historically costumed teddy bear patterns, I am aiming for the fashion model equivalent of a teddy bear – relatively svelte with long limbs and a little retrousse nose.

Here are the pieces (head gusset, ear, foot pad) that need to have mirror image halves.

One of the trickier bits of figuring out the pattern involved carefully measuring along seams which are not mirror images of each other but still need to be the same length, such as the side of the head gusset and the top of the head from nose to nape of neck. I expect to need to make some adjustments, but the closer I can get to start the less drastic the alternations will need to be. Then there was making the pattern pieces that are symmetric across a central axis, such as the head gusset. I ended up creating one side of the piece, then drawing a center line and carefully copying it on either side.

Today I will cut out the muslins and start sewing to see how she looks.

I have already named her Madeleine, for Madeleine Vionnet, a contemporary of Coco Chanel’s who used the technique of draping to make amazing bias cut fashions in Paris between the two World Wars. In addition to her revolutionary fashion designs, according to Wikipedia, Vionnet “instituted what, at the time, were considered revolutionary labor practices: paid holidays and maternity leave, day-care, a dining hall, and a resident doctor and dentist for her workers.” Teddy Bear number 1 could not have a better namesake.

Here are some of Vionnet’s designs. You can see more on The Red List.

Evening dress, 1927

Wedding gown, 1929

Evening ensemble, 1935

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